White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Sunday, June 6, 2010

DAMSELS AND DRAGONS (and maidens?)


(JUNE 6, 2010) Yesterday morning after I finished my walk, I returned to Angler's Park and saw a group of individuals who had gathered to kayak from there to Milton, NC. One of them was a colleague of mine from the biology department, and she came over to see Sadie (and me, too, I guess).

I was exhuberant about all that I had seen that morning and told her about the mockingbird chasing the squirrel in Chapel Hill, the red-winged blackbird shooing away a smaller bird at Angler's Park, the butterflies and the agressiveness of the "dragonflies or . . . what are the others? Uh . . . maidenflies?" She said they are damselflies and then she said, "damsels, maiden . . . I guess they are all the same." We laughed, and I was truly appreciative of any new thing I could learn, and she is very kind to offer information.

That comment sent me on a quest. What is the difference between damselflies and dragonflies?

I consulted a couple of books and several web sites to learn what I could. One site told me all I needed to know. I learned that they are very similar yet very different. But, the basic thing I learned was how to tell the difference between them as I see them on the Riverwalk. Basically, this is it:

Dragonflies have bodies of larger girth, and when they are resting, their wings are to the side. Damselflies, on the other hand, have thinner bodies, and their wings are on their backs as they rest. That's it.

In addition the site told me about the difference in the shape of the eggs, the larvae stages of each, that there are 25 different types of these insects in the sub-group to which they belong, and a lot of other stuff. Very interesting, but I mostly wanted to find out which are damselflies and which are dragonflies. Along the way I learned some more things, and truly appreciate my colleague for all the help she has given me during my quest to learn more about the wonderful plants and animals and insects we encounter.

Oh, I also learned that there are no "maiden" flies - unless that is a name given to female dragonflies or damselflies who never find a mate. I just made that last part up.

It was another good morning on the Riverwalk.

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